Thomas Thompson (American author)

Last updated

Thomas Thompson (October 3, 1933 – October 29, 1982) was a journalist and author. [1]

He was born in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas in 1955. He then worked as a reporter and editor at the Houston Press . [2]

The Houston Press was a Scripps Howard afternoon newspaper, founded in 1911, in Houston, Texas. Under the leadership of founding editor Paul C. Edwards (1911–16), Marcellus E. Foster, known as "Mefo" (1927–37), and George Carmack (1946–64), the newspaper developed a reputation for flashy stories about violence and sex and for exposés of political malfeasance. It ceased publication in 1964.

Thompson joined Life Magazine in 1961 and became an editor and staff writer. [1] While at Life he covered the JFK assassination and was the first writer to locate Lee Harvey Oswald's home and wife. Among his stories were coverage of the making of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles, in which he revealed the group's extensive drug use; an in-depth look at Frank Sinatra and his alleged Mafia ties; and the 40th and 50th birthdays of Elizabeth Taylor.

<i>Life</i> (magazine) American magazine

Life was an American magazine published weekly until 1972, as an intermittent "special" until 1978, and as a monthly from 1978-2000. During its golden age from 1936-1972, Life was a wide-ranging weekly general interest magazine known for the quality of its photography.

Lee Harvey Oswald American former marine who assassinated John F. Kennedy

Lee Harvey Oswald was an American Marxist and former U.S. Marine who assassinated United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Oswald was honorably released from active duty in the Marine Corps into the reserve and defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959. He lived in the Belarusian city of Minsk until June 1962, when he returned to the United States with his Russian wife, Marina, and eventually settled in Dallas. Five government investigations concluded that Oswald shot and killed Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository as the President traveled by motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

<i>Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band</i> 1967 studio album by The Beatles

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. Released on 26 May 1967 in the United Kingdom and 2 June 1967 in the United States, it spent 27 weeks at number one on the UK Albums Chart and 15 weeks at number one in the US. It was lauded by critics for its innovations in production, songwriting and graphic design, for bridging a cultural divide between popular music and high art, and for providing a musical representation of its generation and the contemporary counterculture. It won four Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album of the Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour.

His book Hearts (1971) concerned the rivalry between Houston surgeons Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley at the dawn of the heart transplant era. Richie: The Ultimate Tragedy Between One Decent Man and the Son He Loved (1973) was the story of a Long Island man who killed his drug-addicted son. This was made into a TV-movie called The Death of Richie . [1]

Michael DeBakey American cardiac surgeon

Michael Ellis DeBakey was a Lebanese-American cardiac surgeon and vascular surgeon, scientist, and medical educator who became the chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, director of The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, and senior attending surgeon of The Methodist Hospital in Houston, with a career spanning 75 years.

Denton Cooley American heart surgeon

Denton Arthur Cooley was an American heart and cardiothoracic surgeon famous for performing the first implantation of a total artificial heart. Cooley was also founder and surgeon in-chief of The Texas Heart Institute, chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at clinical partner Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, consultant in Cardiovascular Surgery at Texas Children's Hospital and a clinical professor of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

<i>The Death of Richie</i> 1977 television film directed by Paul Wendkos

The Death of Richie is a 1977 American made-for-television drama film based on Richie, a non-fiction book by Thomas Thompson about the 1972 death of George Richard "Richie" Diener Jr. at the hands of his father, who was ultimately not charged with the shooting death of his son. The film premiered on NBC on January 10, 1977.

Thompson's most successful book, Lost! (1975), was his account of the true story of two men and one woman who were lost at sea after a storm in the Pacific. Thompson's Lost! was retold in the made-for-TV movie Lost! in 1986. [3]

Lost! is a Canadian drama film, directed by Peter Rowe and released in 1986. Based on the book of the same name by Thomas Thompson, the film centres on three survivors of a shipwreck, two brothers and one of their wives, whose chances of survival are threatened by the more religious brother's conviction that they must trust in God to save them rather than making any effort of their own. The film stars Kenneth Welsh as Jim, Michael Hogan as Bob, and Helen Shaver as Linda.

Blood and Money (1976) was based on a true story of scandal and the murders of Houston socialite Joan Robinson Hill and her husband John Hill, and the alleged involvement of Mrs. Hill's father, Ash Robinson, a wealthy Texas oil magnate. [1] The book sold four million copies in fourteen languages. There were three lawsuits against Thompson after the book's publication. Ann Kurth, John Hill's second wife, sued Thompson for his description of her as a "sex bomb". Kurth's suit and that of a Longview, Texas police officer, were both dismissed. [1] [4] Ash Robinson, the father of Joan Robinson Hill, also sued Thompson for his portrayal in the book; Robinson was unsuccessful in his suit against Thompson. [5] Robinson had been allowed to read the book prior to its publication and initially said he approved of what Thompson had written about him. His only criticism was that he believed the book was too long. Thompson's publishers withheld his royalties until all suits connected with the book were settled. [6]

Joan Robinson Hill American socialite and equestrian

Joan Olive Robinson Hill was a socialite and equestrian from Houston, Texas. Her unexplained death at age 38 led to her husband, John Hill, becoming the first person to be indicted by the state of Texas on the charge of murder by omission. The case precipitated a series of events that included the 1972 murder of John Hill and, two years later, the fatal police shooting of the man accused of that murder. Adopted as an infant by wealthy oil tycoon Davis "Ash" Robinson and his wife, Rhea, Joan became an equestrian at a young age. She excelled and continued the sport into adulthood, ultimately winning several national titles.

Longview, Texas City in Texas, United States

Longview is the forty-fifth largest city in the state of Texas. The city is mostly located in Gregg County, of which it is the county seat; a small part of Longview extends into the western part of neighboring Harrison County. Longview is located in East Texas, where Interstate 20 and U.S. Highways 80 and 259 converge just north of the Sabine River. According to the 2010 U.S. census, the city had a population of 80,455. The estimated population in 2017 was 81,522. Longview is the principal city of the Longview metropolitan statistical area, comprising Gregg, Upshur, and Rusk counties. The population of the metropolitan area as of 2017 census estimates is 217,481.

Thompson also wrote Serpentine (1979), the story of convicted murderer Charles Sobhraj. Thompson wrote one novel, Celebrity (1982), which was on the national best-seller list for six months. [1] That novel became the basis for a five-hour mini series in 1984.

Thompson received the National Headliner Award for investigative reporting. He was also the 1977 Edgar Award winner for Blood and Money. [1]

Thompson's family believed that the liver disease that caused his death was contracted in the Far East while investigating the Charles Sobhraj saga. When he became ill, Thompson was teaching writing at the University of Southern California. [1] Among his survivors were two sons, Kirk and Scott. [1]

Related Research Articles

Barbara Bush Former First Lady of the United States

Barbara Pierce Bush was the first lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993 as the wife of George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st president of the United States, and founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She previously was the second lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Among her six children are George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, and Jeb Bush, the 43rd governor of Florida.

Jim Thompson (writer) American writer

James Myers Thompson was an American author and screenwriter, known for his hardboiled crime fiction.

Mirabeau B. Lamar American politician

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was an attorney born in Georgia, who became a Texas politician, poet, diplomat, and soldier. He was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was elected as the second President of the Republic of Texas after Sam Houston. He was known for waging war against bands of Cherokee and Comanche peoples to push them out of Texas, and for establishing a fund to support public education.

<i>Houston Chronicle</i> newspaper in Houston, Texas, USA

The Houston Chronicle is the largest daily newspaper in Houston, Texas, United States. As of April 2016, it is the third-largest newspaper by Sunday circulation in the United States, behind only The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. With its 1995 buy-out of long-time rival the Houston Post, the Chronicle became Houston's newspaper of record.

<i>It</i> (novel) 1986 novel by Stephen King

It is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It was his 22nd book, and his 17th novel written under his own name. The story follows the experiences of seven children as they are terrorized by an evil entity that exploits the fears of its victims to disguise itself while hunting its prey. "It" primarily appears in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown to attract its preferred prey of young children.

Richie Rich (comics) fictional character

Richie Rich is a fictional character in the Harvey Comics universe. He debuted in Little Dot #1, cover-dated September 1953, and was created by Alfred Harvey and Warren Kremer. Dubbed "the poor little rich boy", Richie is the only child of fantastically wealthy parents and is the world's richest kid. He is so rich, his middle name is a dollar sign, $.

John Connally politician

John Bowden Connally Jr. was an American politician. He served as the 39th Governor of Texas and as the 61st United States Secretary of the Treasury. He began his career as a Democrat and later became a Republican in 1973.

<i>Daily Star</i> (United Kingdom) British daily tabloid newspaper published by Reach plc.

The Daily Star is a daily tabloid newspaper published from Monday to Saturday in the United Kingdom since 2 November 1978. On 15 September 2002 a sister Sunday edition, was launched with a separate staff. On 31 October 2009, the Daily Star published its 10,000th issue.

Mary Kay Ash entrepreneur

Mary Kay Ash was an American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.

Charles Sobhraj, is a French thief, fraudster and serial killer of Vietnamese and Indian origin who preyed on Western tourists, mainly beatniks, throughout the Hippie Trail of Southeast Asia during the 1970s. He was nicknamed The Splitting Killer and The Serpent, due to his skill at deception and evasion, as well as the Bikini Killer due to the attire of his victims. Sobhraj allegedly committed at least a dozen murders and was convicted and jailed in India from 1976 to 1997. After his release, he retired as a celebrity in Paris. Sobhraj returned to Nepal in 2003, where he was arrested, tried, and received a sentence of life imprisonment.

Harvey Comics American comic book publisher

Harvey Comics was an American comic book publisher, founded in New York City by Alfred Harvey in 1941, after buying out the small publisher Brookwood Publications. His brothers, Robert B. and Leon Harvey, joined shortly after. The company soon got into licensed characters, which by the 1950s, became the bulk of their output. The artist Warren Kremer is closely associated with the publisher.

Dunta Robinson American football cornerback

Willie Dunta Robinson is a former American football cornerback. He played college football at South Carolina and was drafted by the Houston Texans with the 10th overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. Robinson also played for the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs.

Thomas Michael Bower is a British writer known for his investigative journalism and for his unauthorized biographies, often of business tycoons and newspaper proprietors. His books include unauthorised biographies of Robert Maxwell, Mohamed Al-Fayed, Conrad Black, Richard Branson and Jeremy Corbyn. A book about Richard Desmond remains unpublished. His book, Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football, won the 2003 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

William P. Hobby Jr. American politician; Texas Lieutenant Governor, 1973-1991

William Pettus Hobby Jr. is an American Democratic politician who served a record eighteen years as the 37th Lieutenant Governor of Texas. He held that office from January 16, 1973 to January 15, 1991 for five unprecedented terms, he was the last lieutenant governor to serve a two-year term and the first elected to a four-year term when the Texas Constitution was amended to lengthen terms for statewide elected officeholders to four years beginning with the 1974 elections. The principal duty of the Texas lieutenant governor is to preside over the Texas State Senate.

Jack Robinson is a name present in two common figures of speech. When referring to Jack Robinson, it is used to represent quickness. In contrast, the phrase "(A)round Jack Robinson's barn" has the opposite connotation, implying slowness, as it is often used to refer to circumlocution, circumvention, or doing things in roundabout or unnecessarily complicated ways.

<i>A Glimpse of Hell</i> (book) nonfiction book of investigative journalism

A Glimpse of Hell: The Explosion on the USS Iowa and Its Cover-Up is a nonfiction book of investigative journalism, written by Charles C. Thompson II and published in 1999. The book describes the USS Iowa turret explosion that took place on April 19, 1989, and the subsequent investigations that tried to determine the cause. The explosion aboard the United States Navy battleship Iowa killed 47 of the turret's crewmen.

Murder in Texas is a 1981 television film starring Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, Farrah Fawcett, and Andy Griffith. The film was directed by William Hale, and was based on a true story; that was written for the TV screen by John McGreevey. It first aired on television in two parts on Sunday and Monday May 3-4, 1981.

The death of Joan Robinson Hill at 38 years old led to her husband, John Hill, becoming the first person to be indicted by the State of Texas on the charge of murder by omission. The case precipitated a series of events that included the 1972 murder of John Hill and, two years later, the fatal police shooting of the man accused of that murder.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "'Celebrity' Author Dies of Cancer". Observer-Reporter Washington, PA. October 30, 1982. p. B-10. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  2. Applegate, Edd (1996). Literary Journalism: A Biographical Dictionary of Writers and Editors, p. 263. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  3. "Sea tragedy recreated in gym". Toronto Star , November 2, 1985.
  4. "Libel Suits Upset 'Creative Ability'". Brownsville Herald. October 14, 1977. p. 2. Retrieved August 14, 2014 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  5. Arrillaga, Pauline (March 19, 1999). "'Blood and Money' mystery endures" (PDF). Laredo Morning Times. p. 6A. Archived from the original (Portable Document Format) on October 20, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  6. Boyarsky, Bill (January 2, 1978). "Trial's results make novelists cringe". St. Petersburg Times. p. 4B. Retrieved August 8, 2014.